I’m a fan of Maki, who is a great online marketer, just came across from anther one productive post,where he shared how you can make your web surfing more efficient and achieve the goals. Yes, I’m also thinking about it and I’ve spend a LOT time through a big percentage are totally non-productive – with pains – no gains. Also, I noted “you should always keep your mental energy focused & you’re reminding yourself of what you want.” – yes with limited energy and keep focusing onto the target to achieve the objective and finally reach to the goal.
Everyone has their favorite way of using the internet. Many of us search to find what we want, click in to a specific website, read what’s available and click out. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s efficient. We learn to tune out things we don’t need and go straight for what’s essential.
This goal-oriented way of surfing the web is largely based on short-term results. For example, finding facts to write a blog post, doing a comparison before making a purchase and reading a news site to find out what’s happening right now.
If you do all this everyday it becomes like an unconscious habit. You go to the same familiar sites, click from link to link, extract what you want, linger a little for online chit-chat before drifting somewhere else.
So, how is this related to achieving your goals or being successful? Let’s use the topic of internet marketing and making money as an example.
If you’re a online marketer or business owner, you want to maximize your profits and sphere of influence. In order to achieve that, many things need to be done: on the practical side of things you need to get more targeted web traffic, optimize your sales page, promote your brand, increase your opt-in subscribers, network with peers, build links, provide customer service, create content/products, test your design/interface etc. All of these tactics are all directed towards the end goal of getting more customers and making more sales.
In order to reach this goal, incremental improvements to your business or strategy must be made everyday. You need make small tweaks, adjustments and innovations consistently to build on your success. These gradual step by step improvements will help you to reach your objective. But how do you constantly improve and stay on track to reach your income goal?
Image Credit: El Fotopakismo
A simple way to do this is to surf or use the internet with greater awareness in order to actively archive/assimilate what is beneficial. Awareness doesn’t refer to a serene zen-like consciousness of the websites you visit but rather, the awareness to connect what you do or experience online with the ultimate success of your business or goals. It should all link back to that final end.
And the way you do this in practice is easy: Maintain an all-purpose swipe file and record what you find interesting or useful when you surf the web everyday. To set this up for use while surfing the web, sign up for a free online bookmarking site or install a browser addon. Anything that allows you to bookmark webpages and/or write down your thoughts with just one or two clicks. You want to make it as easy and as hassle-free as possible.
Some of the tools you can use include evernote, delicious or the simple scrapbook addon for Firefox. It’s important to use tools that allow you to easily tag, categorize and search whatever you archive while also keeping your collection private.
Continuing with the online marketing example, I would be using these tools to record the following things while I surf the web:
- Web design/usability – Things I focus on include the overall design of the page, font type, site navigation, placement of ads, widgets, custom site features or plugins among many other things. These are details you can easily pass on to your coder or designer on the same day.
- Graphics/images – See a particular ad banner or button you like? bookmark the page and make a note of it. Or download it and put it in a folder. You may not have the rights to use it but its easy to find someone to create something similar to it.
- Sales page/Pre-sell pages – I spend a lot of time looking at sales/pre-sell pages everyday because I’m interested in how people sell. What words/images they use and how they arrange everything to make a coherent pitch. I’ll bookmark whatever I find appealing and make a note of what I like about it (important). This doesn’t just include lengthy Clickbank style salespages but e-commerce sites/marketplaces and blogs.
- Strategies/tactics – This involves marketing tactics that I find to be particularly ingenious. Examples include linkbait methods, product launch tactics and general public relations/advertising stuff. Much of these strategies can be found not just from the direct observation of marketers but from analysis of current news stories.
- Possible collaborators/JV partners – Whenever I come across a marketer, webmaster or business owner who has a product, site or service aligned with my interests, I will archive their contact details. This also includes people I comes across randomly on Twitter or those I discover via a targeted google search using keywords relevant to my business/product/niche focus. The goal here is to extend your sphere of influence by eventually leveraging another person’s reach.
- Copy and Content – This includes specific lines from sales-pages or emails/newsletters I receive while being on various mailing lists. Examples include email titles, email content, sales page titles, sales copy, adword ads, chapter listings and book titles on Amazon, language style/lines used by forum users in a specific niche etc.
- Ideas for social currency – Any interesting piece of information you come across can be bookmarked as ideas for a blog post, shared on twitter, posted to your email list, weaved into a product or used as a conversational topic in your favorite online community in order to build influence/reputation. Generally this category involves information I consume while reading news sites and not stuff I research on purpose. In other words, this is random zeigeist data (popurls.com/google trends and news/twitter trends/digg frontpage) that can be used towards multiple purposes.
Notes on Creating and Using Your Swipe File
Image Credit: felipe_gabaldon
- Keep everything organized. Use tags appropriately so everything is in the right category and can be easily pulled up for reference. You don’t want a long chaotic list of webpages you can’t use. You want them to be action-friendly examples that are highly specific. Very useful when you want to hire someone and need to show what ad banner image, design style or site feature you want.
- Don’t steal (at least not overtly). Keeping a swipe file doesn’t mean you should just copy and paste whatever you bookmark and use it for your site. One or two lines of copy might not hurt but try tailoring it to suit your persona/style/website. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Find a good idea and instead of just applying it to your business, think about how you can improve on it even more.
- Don’t stay within your niche. For example, you specialize in sports news, don’t just bookmark other sports-related websites. Read widely. A lot of the best sites in terms of content structure/delivery/display will be outside of your niche. Once you find them you can easily transplant their methods to give you a competitive advantage over other sports sites that just follow what everyone else is doing.
You should probably get the hang of this method by now. To clarify once more, I’m not talking about specifically doing research to find and archive data. This isn’t some competitor analysis method where you sit down for an hour and start going through all the websites or people in your industry in order to swipe their greatest hits.
The technique I’m proposing in this article simply involves changing the way you naturally surf the web everyday by developing a much greater attention to detail and aligning what you see or do online with a long-term end goal. Your switch is always on and you’re always looking to build on your current success. Always. All the time.
Develop a Web Surfing Pattern that Makes You Take Action
Image Credit: eriwst
If you’re really serious about building a profitable online business or becoming influential/successful in whatever you do, you should always keep your mental energy focused and your activities directed.
This is especially the case when you spend a LOT of time working online. Sure, you can relax from time to time but keep the line taut. If your online activities are always random and short-sighted, you’ll just jump from one link to another. This becomes a huge time-sink. While Wikipedia and Youtube or your favorite forum/social news site is a fun place to hang out, they aren’t always beneficial. Your attention and energy is limited so use it wisely.
Of course, if you’re only interested in killing time, you can use the internet anyway you want. But if you’re trying to become rich, influential and successful, you need focus. Eventually this unwavering attention will lead to success because you’re always tuned in towards constant improvement while keeping track of your goals. Every single time you click a button to archive something, you’re reminding yourself of what you want.
While the field of internet marketing was used for this example, this purposeful web surfing mindset can be thought of as a self-actualization tool. A well organized swipe file could be thought of as a constantly evolving vision board of some sort.
Like a vision board, your swipe archives are a constant reminder of your objective and tasks to be done. After all, you’re constantly collecting inspiring/interesting material you experience while web surfing and arranging them so they motivate you to move towards your specific goals. Be it to lose weight, learn spanish or improve your website. This is different from the old way of casually surfing the web without any particular focus on a long-term end goal.
So two things to put into action immediately after reading this article:
- Consciously connect whatever you do online with your ultimate goal. Structure the time you spend on the web so that it always flows towards that objective.
- Develop the habit of archiving whatever you experience on the web in order to use them as references/methods to improve what you are currently doing.
Keep this focus in the center of your mind and actively swipe whatever helps you reach your objectives. Do this consistently every day and you will develop a natural web surfing rhythm that will in the long run help you to accomplish your goals.
Content courtesy via How to Achieve Your Goals by Changing the Way You Surf the Web